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BC announces First Nations agreement

The B.C. government signed an "updated" benefits agreement with a group of First Nations on Monday, one they hope will quell opposition to one of the many liquefied natural gas projects planned for the province's north.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced the $32-million deal with 15 First Nations along the route of the proposed Pacific Trails pipeline as she wooed industry investment at an international conference on LNG opportunities in B.C.

"I'm here to tell you that British Columbia is open for business," Clark told a who's who of gas industry officials.

"We know there is tremendous competition all around the world. We know that the window of opportunity to export liquefied natural gas from British Columbia will not be open forever, so we're moving decisively.

"There is absolutely no time to waste."

To that end, Clark announced the amended agreement with the First Nations Limited Partnership. The province will provide $32 million to the partnership for non-equity investment in the pipeline.

"The end result of it is that First Nations are fully behind making sure that access is granted," Clark said at a news conference following her speech.

Although the many natural gas pipelines and shipping terminals proposed for northern B.C. have not faced the kind of opposition seen by oil pipeline projects, there has been some discord.

A group identifying itself as the Unis'tot'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en Nation has evicted surveyors for the Pacific Trails Pipeline on more than one occasion, saying they were trespassing. The 460-kilometre Pacific Trails pipeline will carry natural gas from Summit Lake, 55 kilometres north of Prince George, to the Kitimat LNG facility proposed by Chevron and Apache.

The Canadian Press


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